Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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EZECHIEL - Chapter 40

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Ezechiel xl.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Month; April 30, the year of the world 3430. (Usher) (Calmet) --- In explaining this last most obscure vision: I. The Jews say it was verified after the captivity. But thus the temple would be four miles round, and the city thirty-six, which never was the case. II. Hence more modern Jews assert it will be fulfilled by the Messias. III. Rejecting these errors, Lyranus, &c., suppose that the promise was conditional, and that the sins of the Jews prevented the city and temple from being so large; and that the mystical temple of the Church is also insinuated, into which both Jews and Gentiles shall enter. IV. Though this opinion be probable, it seems better to follow St. Jerome, St. Gregory, &c., who cannot apply all to the Old Testament, nor think that such a huge temple and city were indeed promised, but explain some parts of the captives at their return, as a figure of those redeemed by Christ, and brought into his Church, which is adorned with all graces. Yet the greatest part must be understood of the Church triumphant. (Worthington) --- St. Jerome confesses his ignorance of this subject; and those who have come after him, though they imitate not his modesty, add little to dissipate the mist with which this vision is surrounded. Some have adhered too close to Josephus, while Villalpand has here discovered all the magnificence of Greek and Roman architecture, and has represented the temple six times as large as it really was. It seems that the prophet has described the same temple of Solomon which he had seen, that the dimensions might be preserved, and the hopes of the people kept up; (Calmet) and that they might comprehend what a loss they actually sustained on account of their sins, (Haydock) and might strive to come up to this pattern (Du Hamel) as "near as they should be able," the wealth of the people being much less than Solomon's. (Grotius) --- These arguments do not, however, shew that the buildings were to resemble each other. They vary in many particulars; and the prophet would specify what was to be really executed. He says nothing of the ornamental part, and little of the height, which are the most expensive. (Houbigant) (Preface) --- If some things appear to be too grand for the temple of Solomon, and of Zorobabel, we must reflect that the prophet passes from the figure to the Church of Christ, which is not unusual. (Menochius) --- Alcasar and Bossuet explain it wholly of the Church, so that the letter requires few notes. (Du Hamel)

Ver. 2. Mountain; Moria, in spirit. On the eastern side, the road to the city was level. Walls were added after the captivity, on the other sides. (Josephus, Jewish Wars vi. 6.) --- City, the temple was so large. --- South, to one coming from the north, though the temple lay on that side of the town, Psalm xlvii. 2. (Calmet) --- Septuagint read mongod, "over-against," instead of mongob, "south," which has perplexed many. (Houbigant) --- Ezechiel was placed on Sion, which was not very high, but here it denotes the Church. Jerusalem was in ruins. (Worthington)

Ver. 3. Brass: shining. (Haydock) --- This angel waited for the prophet at the northern gate, but introduced him by that looking towards the east, ver. 16. --- Line. It seems never to have been used. (Calmet)

Ver. 5. Breadth. Hebrew, Chaldean, Septuagint, "of six cubits, in a cubit and a palm;" intimating that the sacred cubit contained six palms, while the common one had only five, (chap. xliii. 13.; Worthington) being half a yard; (Arbuthnot) or the Hebrew cubit was a hand's breadth larger than the Babylonian, or about 21 inches, (Calmet) which may be styled (Menochius) the sacred cubit. (Arbuthnot) (Haydock) --- Reed. This outer wall (Calmet; Menochius) was to prevent any from falling down the precipice. It was about four yards nine inches in height and thickness, being so solid in order that the ground might not give way. Josephus describes prodigious walls, (Haydock) reaching to the bottom of the mountain, three hundred cubits on the south and west; but then the temple was much enlarged. (Calmet)

Ver. 6. And. In this verse occurs the first of thirty-four words where the j is allowed by the keri to be omitted in this one chapter, always when it is the sign of the plural number before a suffixed v, and of course by voluntary assimilation. But Camb. Manuscript has the j regularly in the thirty-two of these words. (Kennicott) --- Steps. The ground was not quite level, which caused the buildings to rise one above another more elegantly. There were four great gates.

Ver. 7. Chamber, for the porters, (Calmet) three on each side of the porch, ver. 10. (Haydock)

Ver. 11. Thirteen, or twenty-six feet high.

Ver. 14. Cubits high, or else the elevation is nowhere specified. (Calmet)

Ver. 16. Slanting, or "lattice." Septuagint, "dark." See 3 Kings vii. 4. (Haydock) --- They were larger within, to afford light, as in Solomon's temple, and in castles. Interpreters disagree in their sentiments: but all allow that God here insinuated that he would reward people in the Old Testament with temporal, and those in the New with spiritual blessings; first with grace in this life, and with glory in the next. (Worthington) --- Yet we must not suppose that the saints of old were deprived of eternal goods. (Haydock) --- About. The other gates had the like ornaments. (Calmet)

Ver. 17. There were chambers. Gazophylacia, so called, because the priests and Levites kept in them the stores and vessels that belonged to the temple. (Challoner) --- They went all round the courts. The women were in the second story. Villalpand and Capel, who are deemed the most accurate, suppose that there were no chambers below, but an open gallery. There seem, however, to have been chambers also, chap. viii. 7. (Calmet)

Ver. 18. Lower. So that there was a step up to the threshold. (Haydock) --- Marble was used in all places exposed to the weather. (Josephus, Jewish Wars vi. 14.)

Ver. 26. Seven. There were eight to the inner court, (ver. 31.) shewing that more perfection is now required, and a greater reward given. (St. Gregory) (Worthington)

Ver. 30. Five cubits. The parallel passages would intimate "fifty." (Calmet) (Villalpand) --- But the texts all read five, and Maldonat understands the four vacant spaces between the chambers, ver. 7. (Menochius)

Ver. 38. Gates. Hebrew is very obscure. The holocausts were slain on the north side of the altar, Leviticus i. 11.

Ver. 43. Borders, to prevent any thing falling. Chaldean, &c., have "hooks."

Ver. 44. North. The singers occupied two wings.

Ver. 45. Watch over the sacred ornaments, perfumes, lamps of the sanctuary, &c., Numbers iii. 28.

Ver. 46. Altar. Not on actual service, (chap. xli. 13.) but to prepare the victims.

Ver. 48. That side. Septuagint add, "and the opening (euros, width) of the gate was 14 cubits, and the breadth (projections, epomides) of the," &c., (Haydock) or the wall on each side of the door was three cubits, so that the porch was 20 cubits broad. (Calmet)

Ver. 49. Eleven. 3 Kings vi., says ten. The exact breadth was ten and a half, (Villalpand; Tirinus) or what the pavement covered is there specified according to some. Roman Septuagint has "twelve." But the edition of Basil reads more correctly, ten. (Calmet) --- Yet both ten and eleven may be right, if this temple be different. (Haydock) --- Eight. Hebrew seems corrupt, a being substituted for a. "They mounted by ten steps," as the Septuagint read. Aquila has eleven; Symmachus [has] eight. --- Pillars of brass, 3 Kings vii. 15. (Calmet) --- As they are not measured, they were like Solomon's. (Worthington)


Bible Text & Cross-references:

The prophet sees in a vision the rebuilding of the temple: the dimensions of several parts thereof.

1 In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, in the beginning of the year, the tenth day of the month, the fourteenth year *after the city was destroyed: in the self-same day the hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me thither.

2 In the visions of God he brought me into the land of Israel, and set me upon a very high mountain: upon which there was as the building of a city, bending towards the south.

3 And he brought me in thither: and behold a man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed in his hand: and he stood in the gate.

4 And this man said to me: Son of man, see with thy eyes, and hear with thy ears, and set thy heart upon all that I shall shew thee: for thou art brought hither that they may be shewn to thee: declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel.

5 And behold there was a wall on the outside of the house round about, and in the man's hand a measuring reed of six cubits and a hand breadth: and he measured the breadth of the building one reed, and the height one reed.

6 And he came to the gate that looked toward the east, and he went up the steps thereof: and he measured the breadth of the threshold of the gate one reed; that is, one threshold was one reed broad:

7 And every little chamber was one reed long, and one reed broad: and between the little chambers were five cubits:

8 And the threshold of the gate by the porch of the gate within, was one reed.

9 And he measured the porch of the gate eight cubits, and the front thereof two cubits: and the porch of the gate was inward.

10 And the little chambers of the gate that looked eastward were three on this side, and three on that side: all three were of one measure, and the fronts of one measure, on both parts.

11 And he measured the breadth of the threshold of the gate ten cubits: and the length of the gate thirteen cubits:

12 And the border before the little chambers one cubit: and one cubit was the border on both sides: and the little chambers were six cubits on this side and that side.

13 And he measured the gate from the roof of one little chamber to the roof of another, in breadth five and twenty cubits: door against door.

14 He made also fronts of sixty cubits: and to the front the court of the gate on every side round about.

15 And before the face of the gate, which reached even to the face of the porch of the inner gate, fifty cubits.

16 And slanting windows in the little chambers, and in their fronts, which were within the gate on every side round about: and in like manner there were also in the porches windows round about within, and before the fronts the representation of palm-trees.

17 And he brought me into the outward court, and behold there were chambers, and a pavement of stone in the court round about: thirty chambers encompassed the pavement.

18 And the pavement in the front of the gates, according to the length of the gates, was lower.

19 And he measured the breadth, from the face of the lower gate to the front of the inner court without, a hundred cubits, to the east, and to the north.

20 He measured also both the length and the breadth of the gate of the outward court, which looked northward.

21 And the little chambers thereof, three on this side, and three on that side; and the front thereof, and the porch thereof, according to the measure of the former gate, fifty cubits long, and five and twenty cubits broad.

22 And the windows thereof, and the porch, and the gravings, according to the measure of the gate that looked to the east, and they went up to it by seven steps, and a porch was before it.

23 And the gate of the inner court was over-against the gate of the north, and that of the east; and he measured from gate to gate a hundred cubits.

24 And he brought me out to the way of the south, and behold the gate that looked to the south; and he measured the front thereof, and the porch thereof, according to the former measures.

25 And the windows thereof, and the porches round about, as the other windows; the length was fifty cubits, and the breadth five and twenty cubits.

26 And there were seven steps to go up to it; and a porch before the doors thereof; and there were graven palm-trees, one on this side, and another on that side, in the front thereof.

27 And there was a gate of the inner court towards the south; and he measured from gate to gate towards the south, a hundred cubits.

28 And he brought me into the inner court at the south gate; and he measured the gate according to the former measures.

29 The little chamber thereof and the front thereof, and the porch thereof, with the same measures; and the windows thereof, and the porch thereof, round about it, was fifty cubits in length, and five and twenty cubits in breadth.

30 And the porch round about was five and twenty cubits long, and five cubits broad.

31 And the porch thereof to the outward court, and the palm-trees thereof in the front: and there were eight steps to go up to it.

32 And he brought me into the inner court by the way of the east; and he measured the gate according to the former measures.

33 The little chamber thereof, and the front thereof, and the porch thereof as before; and the windows thereof, and the porches thereof, round about it, was fifty cubits long, and five and twenty cubits broad.

34 And the porch thereof, that is, of the outward court; and the graven palm-trees in the front thereof, on this side and on that side; and the going up thereof was by eight steps.

35 And he brought me into the gate that looked to the north; and he measured according to the former measures.

36 The little chamber thereof, and the front thereof, and the porch thereof, and the windows thereof, round about it, was fifty cubits long, and five and twenty cubits broad.

37 And the porch thereof looked to the outward court; and the graving of palm-trees, in the front thereof, was on this side and on that side; and the going up to it was by eight steps.

38 And at every chamber was a door in the forefronts of the gates; there they washed the holocaust.

39 And in the porch of the gate were two tables on this side, and two tables on that side; that the holocaust, and the sin-offering, and the trespass-offering might be slain thereon.

40 And on the outward side, which goeth up to the entry of the gate that looketh toward the north, were two tables; and at the other side, before the porch of the gate, were two tables.

41 Four tables were on this side, and four tables on that side: at the sides of the gate were eight tables, upon which they slew the victims.

42 And the four tables for the holocausts were made of square stones; one cubit and a half long, and one cubit and a half broad, and one cubit high, to lay the vessels upon, in which the holocaust, and the victim is slain.

43 And the borders of them were of one handbreadth, turned inwards round about: and upon the tables was the flesh of the offering.

44 And without the inner gate were the chambers of the singing men in the inner court, which was on the side of the gate that looketh to the north; and their prospect was towards the south, one at the side of the east gate, which looked toward the north.

45 And he said to me: This chamber, which looketh towards the south, shall be for the priests that watch in the wards of the temple.

46 But the chamber that looketh towards the north, shall be for the priests that watch over the ministry of the altar. These are the sons of Sadoc, who, among the sons of Levi, come near to the Lord, to minister to him.

47 And he measured the court a hundred cubits long, and a hundred cubits broad, four square; and the altar that was before the face of the temple.

48 And he brought me into the porch of the temple; and he measured the porch five cubits on this side, and five cubits on that side; and the breadth of the gate three cubits on this side, and three cubits on that side.

49 And the length of the porch was twenty cubits, and the breadth eleven cubits, and there were eight steps to go up to it. And there were pillars in the fronts; one on this side, and another on that side.

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1: Year of the World 3430, Year before Christ 574.